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Alabama football prepares for second scrimmage before A-Day

Derrick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports

In mostly cloudy, 76-degree temperatures, Nick Saban and the University of Alabama football program are inside Bryant-Denny Stadium warming up for its final scrimmage of spring ball. 

With its annual A-Day scheduled for next week, the idea is to locate more athletes that want to play “winning football” and grow in consistency. 

Saban will speak with the media following the two-hour practice, but listed below are the notes from warmups prior to the exhibition. 

-After missing the first scrimmage, Henry Ruggs III was back leading one line of receivers. 

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Practice report: Pre-scrimmage observations

Here are several observations from the media viewing portion of Saturday’s scrimmage.

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PODCAST: Notes from inside Alabama’s first spring scrimmage

Nick Saban and Alabama football have one final scrimmage on Saturday prior to A-Day, as spring practice starts to wrap up. During its first live exhibition last week from Bryant-Denny Stadium, there were a few players that stood out to the coaching staff and fans. 

Saban discussed some of the good things and areas the Crimson Tide needs to improve on with the media, following the two-hour practice.

In getting back to the “Alabama factor,” the five-time national champion is trying to locate the players that want to play winning football. 

Before the pads go off for part two, Stephen Smith of Touchdown Alabama Magazine released a segment on Wednesday via In My Own Words on the first scrimmage.

After talking with various sources, Smith breaks down the individuals that stood out to him. 

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Former Alabama offensive lineman heading back to NFL

Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

We may have witnessed the end of the Alliance of American Football League, but the different brand of gridiron action provided excitement and it may have just granted a former University of Alabama player a second chance at the National Football League.  

After one season with the Birmingham Iron, offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer is heading back to the pros – according to a report from Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. News came on Friday, as Fowler tweeted information on the Pittsburgh Steelers being expected to sign Hassenauer. 

A four-year player with the Crimson Tide, he arrived on campus as a four-star in 2014 and was one of the nation’s top high school center prospects. Hailing from Woodbury, Minn., Hassenauer lined up at both guard and center through 25 career games and had a role in helping Derrick Henry become the program’s first 2,000-yard rusher (2,219) in the 2015 season.  

Following his run to the Heisman Trophy, Hassenauer cleared the way for two straight 1,000-yard years from Damien Harris in 2016 and 2017. When it comes to pass protection, he assisted Jacob Coker to 3,110 yards passing in 2015 while aiding Jalen Hurts to be the Southeastern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 (3,734 total yards, 36 touchdowns) as a true freshman. 

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Practice Report: Alabama Prepares for Second Scrimmage Before A-Day

via: Touchdown Alabama

On the Friday practice before A-Day week, Nick Saban and the rest of the Alabama Crimson Tide opted for a lighter session heading the team’s final scrimmage on Saturday. The University of Alabama also held its annual coaching clinic, where a few hundred high school coaches were in attendance to watch the spring practice.

Listed below are notes from practice:

-Offensive line coach Kyle Flood wanted his players to zone in on hand placement and power as the group worked on their steps and punch.

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WATCH: Inside linebackers prep for scrimmage No. 2

Go inside Friday's practice at Alabama to watch the Crimson Tide's inside linebackers at work!

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Practice report: Alabama readies for second spring scrimmage

Here are several observations from the media viewing portion of Friday’s practice.

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Activities, experiences announced for Alabama's 2019 A-Day Game

The Alabama Golden Flake A-Day Game, scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT kickoff on April 13 at Bryant-Denny Stadium, will include a full day of activities and experiences, including the opportunity for fans to take the field at the conclusion of the game.

The A-Day game will serve as the 15th and final practice of the spring for the Crimson Tide. Gates open at 10 a.m. and admission will once again be free to the public.

It will be the program's 13th A-Day Game under the direction of six-time national championship coach Nick Saban. A myriad of activities punctuates the 2019 Golden Flake A-Day Game that will be televised on ESPN2 with Tom Hart and Todd Blackledge working from the booth while Laura Rutledge calls the game from field level.

Game day will get started with the Mercedes-Benz Fan Fest and the Coca-Cola Kick Off Zone, which will both open at 9 a.m. adjacent to Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Fan Fests will feature giveaways, sampling, the Coca-Cola Kids Zone, live radio remotes, vehicle displays and other fun fan activities open to the general public. Numerous food vendors will also be open on the Walk of Champions Plaza starting at 9 a.m.

Alabama's 2018 Orange Bowl trophy will be on display at the Mercedes-Benz Fan Fest. Free photo opportunities with the trophy will begin at 9 a.m., while former Alabama football players will also be in attendance signing free autographs at the Coca-Cola Kick Off Zone. Check RollTide.com and UA Athletics social media pages for updated appearance confirmations and times.

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BamaOnLine Recruiting Chat Recap

Get answers to all of your Alabama football recruiting questions.

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Alabama expected to hire assistant linked to Nebraska job

Nate Oats has reportedly added another assistant coach to his staff at Alabama.

Oats is expected to hire current Windy City Bulls coach Charlie Henry, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. It’s worth noting that previous reports have indicated Henry was set to join Fred Hoiberg at Nebraska as an assistant coach, but no hire has been officially announced.

Henry has experience working with both coaches as he got his start in the profession under Oats at Romulus (Mich.) High School in 2009. He later joined Hoiberg at Iowa State as director of player personnel in 2013 and was later promoted to an assistant in 2014-15. Henry followed Hoiberg to the NBA where he served as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls for two years.

Most recently, Henry was the head coach of the Windy City Bulls of the NBA’s G League.

Oats has already filled a few positions on his staff, including one assistant in Bryan Hodgson. Hodgson was Oats’ right-hand man in Buffalo and led the Bulls’ recruiting efforts. Hodgson and director of operations Adam Bauman have joined Oats in Tuscaloosa. Both have been removed from Buffalo’s website and changed their Twitter profiles to reflect their moves to Alabama. Oats is also bringing strength and conditioning coach Mike Snowden, though that is not official yet.

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Meet the New Guys- Defensive Backs

So far, we’ve covered the quarterback, running back, pass catching, offensive line, defensive line, and linebacker position groups from Alabama’s 2019 recruiting class. Today we’ll finish off the offensive and defensive units by delving into the new defensive backs.

With Deionte Thompson moving on to the pros and Kyriq McDonald transferring (still upset about that one), finding some depth at safety is going to be critical this season. On the cornerback front, Shyheim Carter and Trevon Diggs are both rising seniors, so any new corners will be right on time to learn for a year before vying for a starting job in the 2020 season.

As usual, I will be referring to SPARQ, an analytical tool used to quantify and compare a player’s athleticism.

I pull all of my rankings from the 247Composite, and all heights, weights, and athletic tests are from ESPN, since they pull data from the Opening combines. However, most of the players have changed somewhat in their weight since participation in these combines last summer, so their college-arrival size may be much different. I just keep that old weight because it shows what size the player was when he ran that 40-yard dash.

As a side note, defensive back is typically the most difficult position to watch in high school videos, since the videographers rarely ever show what’s happening down the field. So I may wind up a little less wordy this week than I usually am.

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Safety Jared Mayden showing encouraging progress this spring

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The secondary will be one of Alabama’s most experienced position groups in 2019 as five defensive backs that started in its dime package in at least six games are back.

Most of the attention has been on players like cornerbacks Trevon Diggs and Patrick Surtain II or safeties Xavier McKinney and Shyheim Carter that are familiar names to football fans.

But one of the players having a quietly productive spring is safety Jared Mayden.

“Jared has really done a nice job for us,” coach Nick Saban said. “He really showed up well in the scrimmage, played really well. Did a good job of tackling, played with more toughness in the game and he’s been pretty consistent. I think he has a pretty good understanding of what is expected of him. I’m very encouraged with his progress and very happy with his performance so far.”

Mayden was the Crimson Tide’s sixth defensive back last season, entering games as a safety in dime formations while McKinney moved down to Money. With Deionte Thompson declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft, Mayden could take over as a full-time safety, though Alabama has options.

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College Football Spring Games: LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Clemson, Duke

FOOTBALL IS BACK! Well, kinda sorta. There are 11 players on each side in full pads with an oblong leather ball. Yep, we are talking spring football games. While the Crimson Tide’s A-Day is still another week away, there are a few spring games of interest to tie you over until next Saturday. With rain in the forecast for this weekend, you could do worse than to preview some 2019 Alabama opponents.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Duke 5:30 CT/6:30 ET ACCNExtra - Alabama’s first opponent of the 2019 campaign will be learning what life is like without QB Daniel Jones.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

South Carolina 11am/12noon SECN - It’s been 9 long years since the Stephen Garcia Incident. Many Bama fans have Week 3 circled on their calendar.
(Also of interest during this time will be Purdue on BTN).

LSU 1pm/2pm SECN - The Bayou Bengals return many starters on offense but are once again left rebuilding the defense.
(Also during this time: Southern Cal on the Pac-12N)

Clemson 1:30/2:30 ESPN2 - The Defending National Champs are back and hopefully getting all full of themselves. [Not being assumptive that Bama will play them; just letting you all know the Tigers will be available to watch.]

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Top50 OL still considering Alabama

Despite coaching turnover this offseason, Tate Ratledge is still listening to what Alabama has to say.

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Festivities announced; four players to be honored at Alabama’s spring game

Marvin Gentry - USA TODAY Sports

Next week could draw the biggest crowd of the Nick Saban era to Bryant-Denny Stadium, as this year’s spring game is set to be the most highly-anticipated one since 2008. 

For fans of Alabama football, A-Day is a time to be with family, catch up with old friends from college and enjoying a dominant football program.

Per a press release from the University of Alabama athletics department, the festivities for the spring game will include photos with the Orange Bowl Trophy, shopping at the Bama Style Shop, taking in an Alumni Flag Football Game and watching four players from the 2018 team get their hand print and cleat print enshrined at Denny Chimes in the honor of being team captains. 

The four players are Damien Harris, Christian Miller, Hale Hentges and Ross Pierschbacher.  

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Nick Saban likes Harris & Robinson, but wants to see freshmen emerge

Adam Hagy - USA TODAY Sports

Alabama football may have a pure two-headed monster at running back for the first time since 2014 – T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry – however, head coach Nick Saban still is one for seeing freshmen make contributions at the position. 

Since 2008, a list of players that include Yeldon, Henry, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Kenyan Drake all were pivotal guys as freshmen.

The duo of Najee Harris and Brian Robinson Jr., have earned the right to set the tone for Alabama’s rushing attack next fall. 

Despite their difference in size, running styles and star rating upon signing their letter of intent for the Crimson Tide, Saban looks at both as leaders who are “ready to take the next step.” 

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Nick Saban feels better about depth at wide receiver this spring

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama’s three starting receivers, as well as its top reserve, are back for the 2019 season. Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle will lead the Crimson Tide’s passing game, along with Tua Tagovailoa, for the second year in a row.

Alabama only lost scholarship seniors Derek Kief and Xavian Marks this offseason, but the top four players have returned for another season and so has all of its reserves at the receiver position.

Head coach Nick Saban shared exactly which young receivers have shown promise this spring.

“I think Xavier Williams has made a lot of progress. I think that (John) Metchie has shown flashes and doing things really, really well. I think Slade Bolden has made some plays, and (Tyrell) Shavers is better,” Saban said following Wednesday’s 10th spring practice. “So, I feel much better about the depth at that position than in the past, and I think that’s a good thing.

“And it also helps on special teams because a lot of those guys are good special teams players.”

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Saban satisfied with Alabama's top-two tailbacks this spring

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said he believes Alabama’s Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris will be the first two running backs off the board in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft.

That’s great for the Crimson Tide and its recent pipeline to the league, both Jacobs and Harris and the positive effect potential draft results like that deliver for recruiting graphic quotes and a lot more. But it also leaves Alabama’s current roster lacking experience for the 2019 season.

Nick Saban, however, is pleased with the next two players up at the running back position.

“I really feel like Najee (Harris) and B-Rob (Brian Robinson) are both really good players,” Saban said during his Wednesday post-practice press conference. “I think both of them have got a significant amount of experience in the past. I think they’re ready to take the next step in terms of making a really significant contribution. They both had really good springs.”

Najee Harris and Brian Robinson are rising juniors and have contributed since their freshman seasons in 2017. Last year, Harris was actually the Tide’s second-leading rusher behind the now-departing Harris, rushing for 783 yards and four touchdowns on 117 carries. The former 5-star recruit’s 6.69 yards per carry average led the team and was second-best in the SEC.

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Mocking the Crimson Tide: Alabama in the 2019 NFL Draft

With just three weeks to go until the 2019 NFL Draft, prognosticators across the country are making their mock picks. Several former Alabama players are in play to be first round picks. DL Quinnen Williams and OL Jonah Williams are unanimous picks for the first round. Most observers think RB Josh Jacobs will join them but not everyone agrees on that. And then there are a few who think TE Irv Smith Jr. could sneak his way into the Day 1 festivities. Below are a few of the top Mocks:

PickTeamRyan Wilson CBSChris Trapasso CBSR.J. White CBSPete Prisco CBSWill Brinson CBSJared Dubin CBSCharles Davis NFL.comChad Reuter NFL.comPeter Schrager NFL.comLance Zierlein NFL.comBucky Brooks NFL.com
1Arizona Cardinals
2San Francisco 49ersQuinnen Williams
3New York JetsQuinnen Williams
4Oakland RaidersQuinnen WilliamsQuinnen Williams (AZ mock trade from OAK )Quinnen WilliamsQuinnen WilliamsQuinnen WilliamsQuinnen WilliamsQuinnen Williams
5Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6New York Giants
7Jacksonville Jaguars
8Detroit LionsQuinnen Williams
9Buffalo BillsQuinnen Williams
10Denver Broncos
11Cincinnati BengalsJonah WilliamsJonah WilliamsJonah Williams
12Green Bay Packers
13Miami DolphinsJonah WilliamsJonah Williams
14Atlanta FalconsJonah WilliamsJonah WilliamsJonah Williams
15Washington Redskins
16Carolina PanthersJonah WilliamsJonah Williams
17New York Giants
18Minnesota VikingsJonah Williams
19Tennessee TitansIrv Smith
20Pittsburgh Steelers
21Seattle Seahawks
22Baltimore Ravens
23Houston Texans
24Oakland RaidersJosh Jacobs
25Philadelphia EaglesJosh JacobsJosh JacobsJosh JacobsJosh JacobsJosh Jacobs
26Indianapolis Colts
27Oakland Raiders
28Los Angeles Chargers
29Kansas City ChiefsJosh JacobsDeionte Thompson
30Green Bay PackersJosh Jacobs
31Los Angeles Rams
32New England Patriots

Part 2:

PickTeamDaniel Jeremiah NFL.comWalter Cherepinsky Walter FootballCharlie Campbell Walter FootballLance Cartelli 247SportsMel Kiper ESPNTodd McShay ESPNDraftwire / USA TodayBen Standig NBCRobert Klemko Sports IllustratedVinnie Iyer Sporting News
1Arizona Cardinals
2San Francisco 49ersQuinnen WilliamsQuinnen WilliamsQuinnen Williams
3New York JetsQuinnen Williams
4Oakland RaidersQuinnen WilliamsQuinnen WilliamsQuinnen WilliamsQuinnen Williams (AZ mock trade from OAK )Quinnen Williams
5Tampa Bay BuccaneersQuinnen Williams
6New York Giants
7Jacksonville Jaguars
8Detroit Lions
9Buffalo BillsJonah WilliamsJonah Williams
10Denver Broncos
11Cincinnati Bengals
12Green Bay Packers
13Miami DolphinsJonah Williams
14Atlanta FalconsJonah Williams
15Washington Redskins
16Carolina PanthersJonah Williams
17New York GiantsJonah WilliamsJonah Williams
18Minnesota VikingsJonah WilliamsJonah WilliamsJonah Williams
19Tennessee Titans
20Pittsburgh Steelers
21Seattle Seahawks
22Baltimore Ravens
23Houston TexansJosh Jacobs
24Oakland RaidersJosh JacobsJosh JacobsJosh Jacobs
25Philadelphia EaglesJosh JacobsJosh Jacobs
26Indianapolis Colts
27Oakland RaidersJosh JacobsJosh Jacobs
28Los Angeles Chargers
29Kansas City Chiefs
30Green Bay PackersMack WilsonIrv Smith
31Los Angeles Rams
32New England PatriotsIrv SmithIrv Smith
It seems pretty clear that Quinnen Williams will not last beyond the fourth pick.Jonah Williams looks like he will hear his name called somewhere between Nos. 11-18.Many ‘mockers’ see Philadelphia in Josh Jacobs’ future.Kiper seems bullish on LB Mack Wilson going to the Bengals in the second round (#42).Kiper projects RB Damien Harris at #54 to the Texans.The Raiders have three first round picks. They could land both Quinnen and Jacobs.
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Greg Penn sees Tide offer as a way to keep DMV pipeline going

Alabama has recruited the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area very hard over the last couple of recruiting cycles and with Greg Penn receiving an offer from the Tide recently, this Trend shows no sign of slowing down.

Penn is a linebacker in the 2021 recruiting class. He is a product of Dematha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland,. He considers Alabama’s offer to be a dream come true.

“It is a dream come true to know I have an offer from the school I always dreamed of going to,” Penn said.

The Crimson Tide were able to grab Demarcco Hellams out of Dematha Catholic in 2019. He was joined by other DMV products: Keilan Robinson, Darrian Dalcourt and Shane Lee. The area has also produced current and former Tide players.

Da’Shawn Hand, Jonathan Allen and Terrell Lewis all have roots in the area. Penn said he feels the success the guys before him have had in Tuscalooa has Nick Saban wanting to keep the pipeline going.

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